Monday, January 28, 2008

Frank Rich: Tool of the Week

With all due respect to my friend the Communications professor, Frank Rich is a moron. And this current article has at least five examples of outright inaccuracy or delusional thinking. I read it yesterday and was half-tempted to write a complete blog, but demurred because I figured it didn’t matter anyway. Conservative Democrats don’t take Rich seriously, Liberal Democrats are so delirious over Obama by now that any fuel to this anti-Clinton fire is superfluous, and Republicans don’t read. But since the good professor brought it up, I’ll try to sum up my thoughts as concisely as possible. I’ll let Dr. S correct my errors.

Rich says, “Do Bill Clinton’s red-faced eruptions and fact-challenged rants enhance or diminish his wife as a woman and a candidate?” The examples of red-faced eruptions, I presume (Rich cites no specifics), are when Clinton called foul on Obama’s self-characterization as an anti-war candidate when he voted for every single war funding bill, including the supplementals. Is this not true? The only difference is that Hillary voted for the 2002 Iraqi Force resolution before Obama was in the Senate. He says he was against the war before that resolution, but we have to take him at his word how he would have voted. Remember that 2002 bill was not a declaration of war, only a consent for president to use force if necessary to carry out UN inspections. Obama was in office when the fighting started and voiced no official dissent (unlike others like Russ Feingold and Chuck Hagel.)

Clinton defends this stance in another clip and sets the record straight on Obama using the race card. I see no “red face” or hear any “rant”; watching the video is important because you can see and hear the tenor of his voice and the smile on his face. He looks like I would imagine any professor would when educating a student on a sophomoric question.

The “fact-challenged rants” I can only imagine (again, Mr. Rich cites no specific “rant”) perhaps refer to Clinton’s assertion of voter disenfranchisement by the Democratic party in Nevada. If you listen to the exchange, Clinton was merely answering a question about a lawsuit filed by the teacher’s union against the Nevada Democratic Party. In the video I see, his face is not red and I sense no rage or even any discontent, only a little impatience, which I think is more than appropriate. [As an aside, when listening to these videos, savor the moment of a president actually speaking in complete sentences—quite a pleasant departure from what we have grown used to, no?]

Okay, Chris, here is my assertion. Jon Stewart on the Dailyshow has put this more succinctly than I could with this piece by Samantha Bee. An entire dialogue is being created here by the anti-Clintonians of an out-of-control Bill Clinton flying into purple rages and making wild accusations about the opposing candidate. Bill is characterized as “red-faced” and “fact-challenged” yet Rich supplies no references. Who’s “fact-challenged” here? But the facts don’t matter because the damage is done by the mere rhetoric of the characterization, and the liberals and Republicans lap it up. The Republicans always believe this stuff-- I can understand that-- after all they’re still eating Karl Rove’s shit sandwiches, but I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed in the Liberal Democrats—they should be smarter than this.

Frank Rich goes on to broach another meme, the so-called Clinton dirty laundry. He says, “Mrs. Clinton repeatedly talks of how she’s been ‘vetted’ and that ‘there are no surprises’ left to be mined by her opponents.” Rich goes on about the Clintons failure to provide a list of contributors to the Bill Clinton Library in Arkansas, and I can just see the glee in little Frank’s pudgy face when he concludes that this is a fatal flaw in Hillary Clinton’s campaign because the names on that list will, I suppose, sink her candidacy. Imagine if we learn that Saudi Arabia gave ten grand, or –heaven forbid!—Merck gave a hundred grand! The horrors! Rich even goes back to the Marc Rich (no relation I presume) pardon for fuel to heap on this inferno of apparent guilt and shame.

Frank Rich says with an apparent sigh, “People don’t change. Bill Clinton, having always lived on the edge, is back on the precipice. When he repeatedly complains that the press has given Mr. Obama a free ride and over-investigated the Clintons, he seems to be tempting the fates, given all the reporting still to be done on his post-presidential business. Thank God we have Frank Rich to put a fine point on the tactics of the Republican Party operatives – I’m sure most of us, especially the Clintons, were unaware.

The fact is that Barack Obama has not run through the gauntlet of Republican opposition research. After all, the only state-wide election he has won was against the vaunted Alan Keyes—not exactly a tough match. The Rovians will doubtless find all the dirt that is out there, every nickel bag of dope Obama admittedly smoked had a dealer attached. Every ex-girlfriend will have a story and every parking ticket will be investigated. Has Frank Rich already forgotten the 1992 campaign when we heard from Arkansas state troopers, Juanita Broaddrick and assorted unsubstantiated other rape charges? Does Rich already forget the lame 6-year Whitewater investigation, the “murder” of Vince Foster, Travelgate… etc, etc, ad infinitum? Why does Rich think this will be different? Have the Republicans become kinder and gentler?

Obama is a classic old-school liberal, as far as anyone can tell. This week’s endorsement by Ted Kennedy has the conservatives licking their chops—imagine all the ads that are being created as we speak. My guess is that the only way a Republican can win in November is for an inexperienced candidate like Obama to wander naively into the oncoming locomotive of the Republican pro-business juggernaut. So much is at stake in this election, I have every confidence that no stone will be left unturned and Obama may be fried alive if he makes it to the general election.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy. He seems smart, charismatic and honest. But my money is on Hillary Clinton for several reasons. You can read them here. Frank Rich needs to get a clue and stop buying into the clich├ęs hyped by the media concerning Bill’s “fact-challenged rants” and “eruptions.” The real fact is that Hillary Clinton does represent the middle way, the moderate problem-solver. Bill was the rare animal who was not only able to get elected, but was also a lucid, capable bureaucrat; not since FDR or (maybe) Ike have we had one of those. I have confidence that Hillary would be a capable president, but the jury is still out whether she can get elected. I wouldn’t bet against the Clintons—or as Frank Rich so cutely puts it, “Billary.” (Calling them “Billary” is just so-o-o clever that Frankie repeats it at least half a dozen times… and even puts it in the title! What a stunning intellect!)

1 comment:

Delilah said...

Well I am on the Obamarama Train but I must concur that the Tool's piece was rather biased and not at all fair to Bill and Hill.

I am never a fan of the "pile on". Just remember that the last time the media "pile on" ensued, Hillary won her surprise victory in New Hampshire... The voters have a way of reminding the media of who is really in charge of the democratic process.